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The Jerk (1979)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  14 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 40,830 users  
Reviews: 119 user | 56 critic

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Richard Ward ...
Helena Carroll ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)


Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The picture is ranked at the No. #89 spot on the AFI's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" list. See more »


When Navin realizes the credit card is stolen, he walks backward past the car. However the gas nozzle and hose hasn't been removed from the car but he passes the car without coming into contact with the hose. See more »


[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Black Love (2014) See more »


You Belong To Me
Sung by Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin
Music by Lee David
Lyric by Billy Rose
See more »

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User Reviews

Pure Comedy Shinola
31 May 2002 | by (London) – See all my reviews

I first saw this when it was released at the movies. It was one of those you could happily go to see again with somebody else the following night. It's on TV right now as I write this, 23 years later and it's difficult to finish the review with all the great dialogue in the background. The purpose of a comedy movie (apart from making money!) is to make people laugh. This one does it constantly. I've got to give it a 10.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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